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Old 08-25-2013, 10:18 AM   #1
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Default The other end of calling customer service...

This is a rant all about my part time job. And it has nothing to do with the customers I deal with, it has everything to do with the incompetence of fellow co-workers.

I'm sure by now, everyone on this board has had to call customer service for something whether it's your phone, the cable, bill collectors, the bank, ect. you have needed to talk to a person for something. Generally speaking, most people have encountered bad customer service where the phone rep wasn't helpful or gave you the wrong information. I generally feel the need to hit something after talking to Tmobile - they have terrible customer service and they don't care.

Now, I work at a call center for a ticketing company and no, not Ticketmaster. There are a lot of things that do surprise me about customers who call in and I would say half of my calls are in helping older customers with Print at Home tickets or navigating to a venue website for a seating chart or any other basic computer task. I actually don't mind those calls because I can help and in fact, I don't mind the person asking a million questions about a show or a venue because I'm good at answering those questions too. Before working in a call center, I had worked for an event venue and I've traveled extensively across the country for concerts and productions: I've been to everything from small clubs with 500 people to having stood on a main stage at Lollapalloza in front of 40,000 people.

Most of my co-workers have not worked in a venue, nor are they familiar with stage set ups or random things like how to find a set list from a show as they tend not to be published in advance. They are still perfectly able to do the job and if they have questions they ask a manager or the few people like me who have worked in a venue before. And as far as customer complaints, they tend to mostly concern people not paying attention to what they order online or having tickets go missing in the mail. The nightmare calls are fortunately few and far between and when I'm talking about those, I mean the person scream, cursing and telling you what a failure you are at your job when they didn't get to buy Bieber tickets. My worst call concerned convincing a man who used aol for his email that no, he didn't need to be at his home computer to print his tickets, he can access his email from anywhere - that call took 25 minutes. I am happy to say it ended with him printing his tickets and grumbling what I took as a thank you.

Now, imagine your calling with questions about a show - not hard ones, just when does it go on sale and how much are tickets, easy stuff. Now, imagine, you are sitting off and on hold which the guy who picked up your call hums and haws and keeps saying he can't find this or help with that. One of my co-workers does this, all shift, every call, every SINGLE time he works and he has been with the company longer then I have. It isn't rocket science and yet this guy has managed to turn a phone rep job into climbing Everest! And it never fails that he sits near me so I get to hear him for my entire shift. I get to listen to him make mistakes, pass along bad information or downright lie. He is that person you talk to that no matter what you say, he can't help you and people like him are the reason phone reps get such a bad reputation. When you want to reach though the phone and choke him, I'm sitting there looking at our security cameras wondering if they are on because if not, I want to kick his head in and get on his phone and take the call.

What kills me is that companies like mine keep people like this as their voice and allow someone to represent them poorly. It doesn't have to be that way! At our location, the training manager is actually great at his job but they don't use him enough and they certainly don't have the bad phone reps sit with him to go over the basics of the job or allow him to make recommendations to get rid of them. My nightmare co-worker has been with the company over 3 years so he's apparently not bad enough to fire and that shocks me as we are scored on our calls. Your score determines how many hours you get and preference of hours and what do you know Mr. Nightmare gets the most desirable shifts (nights & weekends) so he can work a day job.

I just returned to school to finish my degree and I'm a business major. It baffles me that companies come up with all these policy and procedures but can't bother with common sense. My first thought would be to put in peer reviews - we are logged onto a computer anyway, if we have time in between calls, perhaps writing both a good and bad review could help. And since it would be identified, employees would have to watch their words - I don't like the idea of anonymous reviews because it allows adults the freedom to act like teenagers and flame people they just don't like while talking about how wonderful they themselves are. If you don't believe me, look at the commentary of online news posts.

I felt like putting it out there, that when you are getting honestly bad service, remember there is a possibility someone else heard it and is just as frustrated as you are. If the bad service over the phone, ask for a manager or hang up and call back - most places don't have just one person answering the phone and you might get lucky and talk to someone who does know what they are doing or is at least willing to help.

Last edited by Katzepatra; 08-25-2013 at 11:11 AM.
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Old 08-25-2013, 10:42 AM   #2
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I can imagine it's frustrating as ****. I've had to deal with coworkers who represented the company really badly as well, and it drove me up the wall.

But with regards to customer service and call centers, I've had some pretty bad service and some fantastic service, so I've accepted that the calls aren't always a reflection of the company. I think sometimes it's difficult for people to remember that the people answering our calls are actual people, with lives and good days and bad days, and sometimes it affects the quality of the service.

Thanks for the clarification though. It's nice to see people who take pride in their work
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Old 08-25-2013, 02:55 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Katzepatra View Post
I generally feel the need to hit something after talking to Tmobile - they have terrible customer service and they don't care.
It's funny you should say that, I worked at a T-Mobile call center for technical support up until about a year ago. When I started working there, the company was all about a well-rounded employee, and they topped JD Powers for their customer service. I would go above and beyond what was needed to make sure the customer had everything they needed to know. Calls about international travel? 16 minutes. Calls about Blackberrys? 20 minutes. I wasn't very good at making my calls shorter, but my customers always got off the call with everything they asked for, and I was always confident, friendly and nice. So my managers were willing to look aside my longer call times in favor of the overall customer experience.

Then about 3-4 years ago, they made the switch to a more business-like model, and they lost that charm that made them one of the top customer service agencies. They introduced things like OCR (one-call resolution....it would track if I had a customer that talked to me call back within 48 hours. Didn't matter if it was for a completely different reason, just if they called back), 800 second call time (I was never able to meet this), transfers and the need to approve every single one ("Yes, take that billing call that you have no idea how to handle, our team can't afford the transfer right now"), device exchange percentage and again, needs approval for every single one (it's technical support...and they wanted us to have an exchange rate of 4% or less. So on an average day when I'd take 100 calls, I can only have 4 exchanges? in tech support?!).

They'd want me to embellish when a customer called in about poor service, and offer things like the Mobile Booster to try and lock that customer in for another two years of service. I wasn't going to do it! I wasn't going to lie to a customer and say "yea a mobile booster should help your indoor signal coverage" when I knew very well that the mobile booster only echoes the signal from outside, inside your home. If you get one bar of service outside, you're going to get one bar or less inside.

When they closed my call center last June (along with 6 other call centers in the US), I had been completely frustrated with how things had turned out. How could a company that had prided themselves on such great customer service do a complete 180? My supervisors were equally frustrated because they knew what the company was asking for was unrealistic, and my last manager absolutely hated giving me "the talk" every week about my call time. I was frequently in the 900s, and I know that put a lot of work on my managers to try and keep me, because the rest of my stats were meeting or exceeding the goals.

Sorry for the tangent....I do agree that if you get a bad customer service call, there is usually someone there who's heard what the rep said and wishes they can correct it. If you feel you are getting bad service, I'd definitely ask to speak to someone else! After all, you're calling in to have something answered, you should be able to get that information and have it be correct!
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:08 AM   #4
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Wow that is so funny that you mentioned that Buffin!!! Feb 2014 is the end of my extended contract which was done behind my back (no signatures to authorize, a store called it in) and it's good riddance to the company. I would absolutely say they had better service even 4 years ago. I switched from Verizon after going though the same model phone 4 times due to a defect (touch screen phone where the screen "sank" in) and they finally said "we won't give you another phone, upgrade or wait for your contract to expire". My bf was with Tmobile for 8 years at that point and completely happy so I joined his plan. First year was great, miserable ever since...thinking of going to AT&T next even though they seem exactly like Verizon. If you by chance know how to get Tmobile to release me from my contract, let me know! I have done everything to push that we didn't authorize the extension and nothing. The store manager where it happened actually laughed at us and told us we were $hit out of luck. For the record, when I was at Verizon, and before them Sprint, they didn't force you to sign an extension to your contract when you wanted to change any little part of your contract. We were under the impression we were just adding an employer discount...end up costing me hundreds more then it saved.

Your idea about calls is the same as mine - if it takes me 10 minutes to help someone buy tickets or 20 to get the company to fix a mistake even if it wasn't us who made it, I'll do it. Until they just changed a few of our policies, I used to make requests for managers to do exchanges despite an "all sales final" policy. Now that they have changed things, I tell people all the stuff the company would rather me not detail out. There was something in the news a few months ago about paperless tickets and how awful they are - I actually try to talk people out of those tickets which tend to be closer and more expensive solely because I have taken the call of someone who wants to transfer them for whatever reason and can't because the credit card used to buy BECOMES the tickets and there are no transfers, no name changes, no refunds and the card holder must enter the building with the entire party.

If I had to give any advice about buying tickets, if buying online, read what you are buying before just hitting submit. If you're buying over the phone some reps have been told not to give personal opinions when asked about whether we would sit somewhere or not - ask anyway. I give mine and I say why I feel one way or another. And generally, if you can buy in person at the venue (NOT the outlets) you can usually save some on fees or if you get a group together group sales can sometimes cut down on the fees or discount the tickets. Fanclubs for bands also tend to have the most decent seats blocked off for their presales. Interested in a sold out show and willing to pay anything? Call premium seating, sometimes the venue allows for single seat purchases into suites that aren't booked for the year with the prices comparing to VIP tickets. In fact, check with premium seating if you are considering VIP tickets, to me the seating is nicer and can include food and drinks (ask if it does!)

Last edited by Katzepatra; 08-26-2013 at 12:10 AM.
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